People in China and Vietnam Are Angry About the United Video, Too

April 11th 2017

Lita Martinez

The uproar over a viral video of a man who was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight has reached a fever pitch in China.

Users on the popular Chinese microblogging platform Weibo have viewed and shared the video millions of times over the past 24 hours.

And it didn't take long for thousands of Chinese internet users to express their outrage over the incident, and many of them have called for a boycott:

Screen shot of Weibo blog

This comment comes from a Beijing-based technology investor, who says he makes frequent trips to Silicon Valley, but has vowed to never fly on United for those trips again.

Many Weibo users accused the airline and the Chicago Police Department of racial profiling — saying the man, identified by the Louisville Courier-Journal as Dr. David Dao, was singled out because he was Asian. The airline denies that claim, saying he and three other people were randomly selected to get bumped off the flight.

Chinese-American comedian Joe Wong wrote on Twitter how race may have played a role in the incident:

Despite what witnesses reported hearing him say during the scuffle, Dao is originally from Vietnam and, according to the BBC, citizens in that country have also taken to message boards to denounce the airline.

United Airlines did not immediately respond to a request by ATTN: for comment, but the company released the following statement from its CEO on Tuesday:

While there have also been calls to boycott United here in the U.S., a similar protest in China could end up hurting the company in a big way.

China is the second largest market in the world for airlines, and 133 million mainland Chinese tourists traveled overseas last year alone. United claims to operate more non-stop U.S. to China flights than any other carrier, so a boycott in China could put a substantial dent in its profit margins.

Screen shot of Weibo blog

According to Reuters, 14 percent of the company's revenue last year came from its flights operating in the Pacific region, and it raked in $2.2 billion from mainland China alone.

United's response to the incident also rattled Wall Street Tuesday, sending the company's stock into a tailspin. Though it managed to rebound before the closing bell, its overall market value shed more than $250 million by the end of the trading day.